It’s easy to say Purpose Matters. The evidence is unequivocal. It’s quite another to know what the Purpose is. Developing shared Purpose, a Purpose that defines the cause and passions of an organization, is even more challenging. Surprisingly, that’s as true for early-stage companies as it is for those that have been around for 5+ years. In a world where we’re under siege with commitments, communications and just “growing the business,” where do you start?
For those of you that have a well-defined Mission statement, you may have a good start. I’ve written previously about using a technique called the 5 Why’s, which originates from Lean, to get to your root cause, or reason for being. For some organizations that’s all they need to get to Purpose. For others, particularly those with 10+ people or those of you that haven’t revisited your Mission in a while, you need to go deeper and wider.
I’ve asked many questions and used many processes to help organizations get to their core reason for being, the cause that ignites the shared passion of the team, the Why of their organization. Two questions stand out as having been the most effective in a team-based setting. They get you the raw material to understand what your team believes and what inspires them.
The words that came out surprised some people and were incredibly powerful. Many on the team didn’t know how aligned and committed each person was individually to their customers, to service, to being good and to helping people. The word cloud became a rallying point for developing a shared Purpose that both inspires and drives the business.
Developing a Shared Purpose can be daunting. Don’t let that stop you. Starting with two powerful questions can go a long way in initiating that process. Results will follow!
For most, end of year means we reflect on two questions. How have we done? What will we do? Those questions fuel two critical functions for helping individuals and organizations. 1) Performance Reviews. and 2) Strategic Planning.
The question/comment I get most often when I’m talking with CEOs and Leaders about Purpose boils down to this. I get it, Purpose-prioritizers outperform. What do I do to start tapping in to that in my organization?
Assuming you know your Why, the next steps of Purpose, the “so what, now what” steps, boil down to this: “connect the dots,” and “flip the filter.” They’re two sides to the same coin that create powerful outcomes. Here are a couple of examples:
Example 1 - Performance Reviews and Planning
You know Purpose-prioritizers outperform. You know that Performance Reviews and Strategic Plans drive the behaviors you want from your team. You also know you’re coming up on both. So, have you connected the dots and created a plan to:
Example 2 - Make it a Strategic Goal
You know that you emphasize what’s in your strategic plan. You know that you want to be more Purpose-driven. You aren’t sure what that means just yet. But, you don’t want to lose track of it. Have you connected the dots by making it a strategic goal to develop a plan to integrate Purpose in to your business in 2017?
Example 3 - Measurement, KPIs and Dashboards
You know that you get, a) what you measure and b) what’s top of mind. Measurements fuel dashboards, which fuel KPIs, which fuel achievement of strategic objectives. So, have you connected the dots and determined:
Showing people who you are and what you do can shift their perception of your brand, build loyalty and differentiate your brand. Here's 7 great examples of integrating Mission, Vision and Impact in to communications. Thinking differently about these organizations? Do you see these organizations differently after reading them?
“All success begins with a definiteness of purpose. This means a clear picture in your mind of precisely what you want from life.”
The voice and stories from this blog originate from the collective wisdom and experiences not just of our team, but with those we were fortunate to learn from.